The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who came to Kiev, greeted the guard of honor in Ukrainian. The ceremony was broadcasted on the official page of the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on Facebook.
”Greetings, soldiers!’‘ said the chancellor, addressing the military personnel.
“Glory to heroes” they answered.
“Glory to Ukraine – Glory to heroes“ – the slogan of the German allied pro-Nazi extreme Right Wing Ukrainian Insurgent Army –became the official military greeting in Ukraine in October.
During her visit Merkel will have a meeting with Poroshenko and the Prime Minister of the country Vladimir Groisman. Bilateral relations and resolving the conflict in Donbass are the central themes of the discussion.
75 years ago: Soviet Red Army liberates Kiev
On November 6, 1943, the Red Army took control of decisive sections of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, amid heavy fighting with German forces which had occupied the city for the previous three years. The liberation of Kiev was a major strategic and political blow to the Nazi regime, and restored to the Soviet Union its third-largest city.
Soviet troops had succeeded in encircling Kiev over the preceding two months as part of the Battle of the Dnieper, a broader offensive aimed at recapturing the bulk of Ukraine. The advances they made came at a heavy cost, with an estimated 450,000 casualties.
Early on November 3, Soviet forces launched a massive artillery and aerial bombardment, directed against Germany’s 4th Panzer Army, which was in occupation of Kiev. Over the following three days, Soviet troops moved en masse into the city. They encountered strong resistance, and were forced to engage in close combat to take key positions. German forces carried out a scorched earth policy, setting fire to much of the city, and destroying its critical infrastructure, as they were forced to retreat.
The Soviets then sought to use the city as a base from which to launch an offensive aimed at recapturing other Ukrainian towns, including Fastov, Zhitomir, Korosten and Berdichev.
Hitler responded by releasing the 48th Panzer Corps and launching a counter-offensive, which retook cities earlier captured by Soviet forces, including Zhitomir and Brusilov. By early December, after the 48th Corps began making significant eastward advances, the Soviets dispatched tank and infantry reinforcements, which successfully repelled the German invaders.
Kiev had been the scene of horrific crimes by the Nazis and their local collaborators in the Ukrainian fascist organisations. In two days, from April 29-30, 1941, they murdered an estimated 34,000 Jews at the Babi Yar ravine in the city. Throughout the German occupation, between 100,000 and 150,000 Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma and communists were killed by the Nazis at the site.